Global Space Balloon Challenge

For some time, members have talked about launching a CGW high-altitude balloon, but we never get around to it. In order to light a fire under our collective butt, I have entered us as a team in the Global Space Balloon Challenge.

There are surprisingly few regulations for us to follow for the challenge. Most importantly, we have to launch our balloon (or balloons) between April 10th and 27th, 2015. That gives us right around two months to prepare. The design and build process will involve work in many different fields, including:

Mechanical Design of the capsule to survive the harsh environment of near-space and of a return mechanism to keep everything together during ground/capsule interaction.

Electronics for the tracking system, photography, and any scientific experiments we want to send to the edge of the atmosphere.

Lighter-Than-Air Aeronautics that will let us use helium or hydrogen to send our balloon into the sky.

Weather Analysis and Prediction to make sure that we launch at a safe time and have some idea where our capsule is going to end up.

If that sounds like fun to you, sign up on the CGW DragonTwo team page. We will have an introductory/strategy meeting on Tuesday, February 10th at 7:00pm in the hackerspace. Afterwards, the GSBC team will have weekly build meetings on Tuesdays at 7:00pm, with weekend build meetings if appropriate.

FIRST Robotics Team Visit


At a recent Open Hack Night, we got a visit from Columbia’s FIRST Robotics Team 3792, aka Army Ants Robotics. This high school team, made up of students from across the area, builds and operates robots for the St. Louis Regional FIRST Robotics Competition. They were kind enough to let us poke and prod at last year’s entry and even gave us a demonstration of their ability. The 2015 competition is coming up fast, so if you are interested in robotics and are in the proper age range, be sure you check out their web site and get in contact with the Army Ants.